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K.I.S.S. Revised 06/01/2010 - 3:07 PM

101323336(3)

by Pete Bodo

Let's alter the source of that KISS acronym to, Keep it Simple, Soderling. Because that's what Robin did at Roland Garros today, dethroning defending champion Roger Federer and halting the reigning no. 1's other-worldly streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearances. 

Soderling accomplished what, oh, some 110 previous opponents have not been able to do at all those other majors (16 of them eventually won by Federer), but Juan Martin del Potro was able to accomplish in a match that had no bearing on Federer's semifinal streak because it occurred in a final (at the U.S. Open last September; don't for a moment think Soderling wasn't watching). Soderling took the game to Federer and overpowered him with a deadly combination of raw power tennis and a willingness to put unrelenting pressure on Federer's backhand.

The winner-to-error ratio was significant. Soderling rained down 49 winners, nine more than Federer, and more than the top seed in every set but the first. Soderling also hit a yeoman's share of unforced errors (42, to Federer's 27), but that's the nature of go-for-broke tennis; you can smack three ugly errors to go down 0-40, but if you win the game, who cares?

In that regard, the forced error stats may speak most eloquently for Soderling's effort: Federer made nine more forced errors (48), which tells you what kind of pressure he was under. Added up (if my math is correct) that amounts to 124 points that were decided by Soderling winners, errors he forced, and gifts from Federer. That's 30-plus games worth of points (on the admittedly shaky assumption that four points equal a game).

But this was a slightly more textured form of simple than it might appear, for straight-ahead power players usually play on their own terms, and hit the ball any danged place they please. Soderlings innate recognition of, and respect for, Federer's forehand convinced him that discretion is the better - but not the only  - part of valor. In this match, he played with equal measures of both, synthesizing a lot of Rafael Nadal (pressure the backhand) and Del Potro, or even a guy like Fernando Gonzalez: take huge cuts, burn the lines, hold nothing back and hope it all works out okay. In other words, Keep it Simple, Stup - er, Soderling.

At the outset, It appeared that Federer would meet this challenge as he has met so many similar ones. He won the first set comfortably, but lost his momentum and promptly lost the first three games of the second; the damage was done, and it was enough to put the wind at Soderling's back. He made his early break stand up as the men held to serve out another 6-3 set.

Soderling made his key break of the match in the eleventh game of the third set, for 6-5. He was shaky, serving that next game, but he never lost his nerve. He served out the set following what appeared to be an egregious error by umpire Stefan Fransson. Federer hit a forehand that appeared to be out on set point, but Fransson checked what might have been the wrong mark and refused to overrule.

Federer never got his racket on the replay ball, a heavy ace.

By then, the off-and-on drizzle was adding to the complications. The men left the court once (in the third set) for an extended rain delay, but spent part of the third and almost all of the fourth looking up at the skies, glaring at the tournament referee, consulting the umpire to talk about - what else? - the weather. . .

At one point, early in the fourth set, they rested in their chairs on court for a spell while the umbrellas sprouted throughout the stadium. Each man sat like a spent prize-fighter, red towel draped over his shoulders, under an umbrella. It was certainly a distraction that posed greater problems for Soderling, as it always does for the underdog who must fear fear that his momentum is broken. And Soderling is enough of a veteran to know that you allow the champ to hit the re-set button at your peril. There's a world of difference between "any given day" and "any given two consecutive days."

Play on, the umpire said.

The most telling moment appeared to be the third game of the fourth set, with Federer up a break at 2-0. He played a dismal game, falling behind 0-40. For a moment, he remembered who he is, and saved a break point with a service winner. But he made a forehand error on the next point to allow Soderling to even the set, and from that point on Federer was the one struggling to stay in the match.

The main difference, in the big picture, was that Soderling reached out aggressively to take the match, and he did that from start to finish. Meanwhile, Federer did a fair impersonation of Hamlet, his game fading in and out like the signal from a distant radio. More and more, it looks as if Federer is not really playing to win, the way a Soderling is in these upward arcing days of his career.

It seems that Federer is playing not to lose. He's doing a fair job of that, hanging in, fending off, snarling and snapping like a captive wolf in a cage. But Federer doesn't seem to seek the freedom represented by victory, or triumph over his captors and adversaries. He doesn't appear to want to attack, break through, run like the wind and distance himself from his tormentors.

The question, going into this event, was whether Federer would muster the focus, hunger, and determination that seems to have been in remission since he won the Australian Open. Did he have a stock game for most tournaments and a custom one for majors?

Unfortunately for Federer, Soderling was the most dangerous of opponents to entrust with those questions. He asked them all, and we all saw the answers.

The press conferences are just coming up; I think I'll wait until tomorrow to assess it all.


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Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 12:18 AM

GB glad you are here. If you start now they might just about kick in. I say Rafa in four close sets. Me I will be stuffing my face with chocolate to stop me yelling at the tv.

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 12:24 AM

Hey Angel! I'm sorry, but (IIFFFF the match happens) I have to hope you have reasons to want to yell:)

Posted by Carrie *Vamos Rafa and/or Nico, Elena, and Blackhawks!* 06/02/2010 at 12:28 AM

Is there anyway to hope for a good four or five setter between Rafa/Nico where it does not drain either player?

This does suck- a lot of my faves being bunched up together... I lurve Rafa but am also a big (and rare!) fan of Nico- so what to root for. Rafa wins in terms of rooting which I guess is the only good thing of Elf not playing here (how could I choose between Rafa and Elf).

I am trying to like Nole (Jenni will understand) but am kinda rooting for Melzer in that match.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 12:31 AM

GB I was yelling at Robin last night and it was only two games in. See I do get excited for players I just don't need to frazzle. I actually want Nico to win and if he goes all headcasey I will want to do more than yell at the tv. I will have to make sure I have a couple of cushion close by so I can punch them if I need to.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/02/2010 at 12:32 AM

GB: I haven't seen any of nole's matches this tourney. Have there been any sightings of his gf Jelena?

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 12:33 AM

Carrie I will double celebrate for you if Nico wins so you can still root for Rafa. I will also add in some fist pumps and if Nico wins I will blow a kiss.

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 12:35 AM

Annie: I don't think I've seen her (am such a frazzled mess that I can't remember much though!)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 12:39 AM

Annie I've watched a couple of Nole's matches and I haven't sighted the Jelena did see his mother however.

Posted by JohnC (Sod all the way) 06/02/2010 at 12:46 AM

I've decided that it's okay for someone to beat Roger at a major ... as long as they go onto win the whole thing. And Rafa losing somewhere would seal the deal in terms of the end of the Fedal era, an ending that was more than nigh in any case.

Delpo won the USO by beating both Nadal and Federer. Soderling looks set to do the same, but in reverse order. There is no more fitting way to win a major.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 06/02/2010 at 12:47 AM

Angel and GB: don't you guys think that's a little strange? she's always there. Maybe they aren't together anymore.

Posted by Carrie *Vamos Rafa and/or Nico, Elena, and Blackhawks!* 06/02/2010 at 12:47 AM

Ange- thanks and you are so cute! Nico is one of the few that I could not get in a deep funk if Rafa loses to because I do like him so.

Speaking of liking- I am still bummed at the loss of Delpo. Not everyone's favorite but I think his abscense takes a bit out of the men's game. I miss him tons...tons.

Posted by Monica 06/02/2010 at 12:55 AM

Ay yi yi - feel bad that Fed lost. Robin was playing fantastic. I was upset that Fed lost but really had to admire what Robin was doing and kept it up. Hopefully the resdt of the guys have great games and bring it like the Fed/Sod game. It was nerwracking b ut exciting. Go Robin!

Honestly, this is the first time I'm still intersted in the rest of the matches in this tournament. Go, Rafa, Sod, Berd, Amalgro, Nole!

This game is fantastic and we all never know what can happen!

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 01:03 AM

Baby Rafa at Wimby in 2003: http://tinyurl.com/2dy7hrl
(Even that much cuteness can't fight the frazzle, but I'm trying!)

Cari Champion tweeted: "Roger leaves RG and heads to ITF dinner with his parents. He thinks rafa will win the French Open". So, it seems Fed's keeping the faith:)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 01:05 AM

Morning, everyone. :)

I only really watched the first set and a bit of the second, and then the last four games. The match seemed to tense right up in the second. I'm not convinced about Federer not playing to win, he seemed to me to be playing quite aggressively for most of the tournament, and in his penultimate service game he seemed quite fired up, saving a few break points. Seemed to me Soderling went right up a level and seized the match from Roger.

Want to say well done to Robin for the double whammy of this year and last; and well done to Roger for the 23 GS SF streak. Just, wow.

I'm not ready for the Nadal part of the Fedal era to end just yet - and I'd be surprised if the Fed part ended here, anyway - but if Soderling did win this whole thing by beating them both it would be an awesome achievement. Long way to go for all of the players yet, though. :)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 01:09 AM

Thanks for that, GB. :)

Amused that he was beating up on a Brit. ;-)

Posted by JohnC (Sod all the way) 06/02/2010 at 01:15 AM

Hi jewell, I don't think Rafa (or Fed) are done yet, but their duet domination of the tour (which defined the Fedal era) has been slipping away for some time. More slams for both of them, for sure, but I get a strong sense that this may be Robin's tourney. A ways to go yet, so we'll see.

Posted by JohnC (Sod all the way) 06/02/2010 at 01:17 AM

btw, I also have an odd feeling that this may be Murray's year for Wimby, despite a generally underwhelming performance this year.

Posted by Carrie *Vamos Rafa and/or Nico, Elena, and Blackhawks!* 06/02/2010 at 01:20 AM

Not to be a baby KAD- as Rafa fans are often accused of being when trying to feel joy- but I just rewatched the W2008 win. I know it sucks for Fed fans but my lawd- will I ever feel this joy as a Rafa fan again?

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 01:20 AM

Can't say I'm amused by anything ATM, Jewel:)

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 01:23 AM

Oh yeah, I can see that, JohnC. :) Could well be Robin's tournament, he's played really well all through.

Have hardly said a word about Frannie but a great win for her too. I'd love it if she could take the whole thing, even it was over JJ! I don't think it's too bad a result for Caroline, given how much she's struggled with injury recently, either.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 01:26 AM

aw, GB. Is it the frazzle?

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 01:29 AM

Yep, Jewel. I. am. terrified. for. Rafa.

Posted by nara 06/02/2010 at 01:30 AM

I think Pete is off-base here. Roger didn't play to keep from losing. He played well but was beaten by a player with far superior power in those conditions. Fed played a clean game and did his best but was blown off the court. I actually thought he looked very good and like his chances for the rest of the year.

Posted by Pspace 06/02/2010 at 01:32 AM

Traveling on work for the next few days. So will miss all of the tennis till Sunday. Hopefully, it's a Rafa-Soderling final. Catch y'all for it.

Goodnight and good luck.

Posted by Monica 06/02/2010 at 01:32 AM

Nara - well said! Hopefully we'll see more of the unbelievable greatness he brings to the game.

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 01:37 AM

Well at least Fed & Pico still believe:) Pico apparently tweeting away that Rafa's got a chance at no1 (which shows how much he believes in Rafa, given that he thinks Sod's a pure psycho:))

Bye Pspace! I personally hope like hell it's a Rafa-Berdy final:)

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 01:38 AM

Hello everyone!

Bye, Pspace. Guess I just missed you.

Btw, I read that this week is Son's Week!

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) loves Phenomenadal 06/02/2010 at 01:38 AM

GB,
cos we are in same locale, do you mind sharing your pharmaceuticals? i will be in desperate need tonight and i... can't get my hands on any. stuck at home hehe

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 01:44 AM

I know the feeling, GB. :)

See you soon, Spacie!

All the talk about conditions are interesting, I seem to remember that last year it was meant to be the hot & dry conditions that were favouring the big hitters and servers, now this year it is heavy damp ones.

Posted by 1221 06/02/2010 at 01:45 AM

Hi everyone! It's been a while.

I was surprised that Fed lost...but Soderling definitely deserve that win. A final with Rafa in it is not yet guaranteed...i dont know if it's just me but there's something missing from Rafa's game this RG (maybe it IS my neurotic self, not been the same since that ^(&%$#* day in RG last year). Nico will be tough...Djokovic..tougher. Im keeping all my fingers crossed.

Posted by timmberlaine 06/02/2010 at 01:48 AM

really really really happy to see federer gone and that proved that he just got lucky again last year..coz when rafa lost his spirit soared knowing he got a geat chance which coz the victory..
i dont think he will ever win FO again...that's really really awesome.
a lot of people are very unhappy to federer lost..why should they?. he's not invincible and he had enough successes already.
it really boring and fed-up to keep see him in the semi and final of slam and now he knows that his reign is almost over..
he look almost tearful during the after match interview..why should he feel sad and like crying when he lost? he already won 16 slams and won so much and clearly show that he want to prove that he is the greatest player of all time by extending his records..no way..no way...and he cant always be a king in every tournament.
hopefully now to see the final is between sod vs rafa..that will be something special..one thing for sure federer wont be there..yaaaay...

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 01:49 AM

Hello 1221. Things are looking so uncertain now. Only Rafa seems calm. His fans are in a state of agitation (me included).

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 01:52 AM

Ohh I just had a terrible thought what happens if Robin wins the FO and Murray goes yet again slamless this year. I know this scenario may never happen. Muzz would be gutted. First Nole, then Delpo and then perhaps Robin.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 01:56 AM

Angel: Hi. Do not worry. Stay calm! Breath. Breath. Breath. Murray will win slams for sure. We Murray fans should just be patient and trust our player.

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) loves Phenomenadal 06/02/2010 at 01:59 AM

Kim is such a good sport. she just tweeted that people have been saying to her that she should play doubles with Lleyton... she thinks it's hilarious.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 02:02 AM

Anyway, yesterday brought another first in tennis terms - Imjimmy and NP actually disagreeing with each other on a tennis matter. :shockedface:

Sorry to read about your computer, Andrew. That's unfairly horrible.

Happiness that one player won is so much more palatable to me than glee over another player losing.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 02:07 AM

*waves to 1221*

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 02:08 AM

jewell: Hi. Berdy too playing well no?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 02:15 AM

Hey rg. :) I don't think Berdych has even dropped a set yet which is pretty scary good from him.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 02:17 AM

I'm pleased that I will be able to watch the men's final without having to go to bed for work the next day as it is a public holiday in my neck of the woods.

rg.nadal believe me I am calm. I would like to see Murray take the USO as he loves NY and it is his favourite tournie. Since Elf is not going to play and defend his title I might pull for Murray.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 02:19 AM

jewell: Hope Soderling and Berdy suck the life out of each other like dementors! hehe

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 02:23 AM

Hate to break it to you but Robin is one of the dementors.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 02:24 AM

Angel: I do see that happening. From now on till the rest of the year he could really do well. Even Wimbledon is a possibility.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 02:35 AM

Angel: Yeah. But I would like to believe that Rafa is the chosen one and that he can handle the storm.

Posted by Katt stacks 06/02/2010 at 02:44 AM

I see that I'm trending on Twitter!! They can't get enough of me hahaha!!!

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 02:54 AM

Well Hola RG and Jewell

I just got back in and I see Frazzle Time has taken over

Well maybe you should read my post to GB on the previous page.I know she didnt take any notice of it

We Gonna See No?

Right Rafa off at your onw Peril.Cause I will never.

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 02:57 AM

Mina: I think I'm gonna be stuck with just plain old industrial quantities of vodka...Hell, at least you're happy as Sod fangirl:)

Rafa's uber Vamos against Bella: http://tinyurl.com/26a6u3v. Floves it!

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 02:59 AM

AM: Hi there. We just have to wait and take each match as it comes.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:00 AM

RG Right On.Hell everyone has Robin and Rafa in the final? LOL!!!!! we are only playing q/finals

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 03:02 AM

Morning, AM. :) I can't think rationally about it at all, LOL.

Posted by Kenneth 06/02/2010 at 03:04 AM

Not at all pleased with Federer going down to Soderling. Even if he didn't take Soderling for granted, I certainly did! And what a match. Almost precisely the same manner delPot achieved his slam, which is not how I'd planned it, lol. Good on Soderling being able to turn the losing streak around in a setting where the stakes couldn't be much higher. That's how one peaks for majors. Someone please explain peaking to Verdasco and his cousin Ferrer, thanks.

Onto the final quarters!

Posted by mina (meanie and proud of it) loves Phenomenadal 06/02/2010 at 03:05 AM

GB,
oh no! just how many drinks will it take to get some colm tonight? but yes, i'm finding solace in being a Sod fangirl. that won't help the frazzle fest any if Rafa wins tonight though. every round the ante gets upped. perfect. *frazzles*

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:10 AM

Jewell Hey I kind of noticed lol!

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 03:10 AM

AM: haha. Btw, if it is a Sod-Rafa final, the crowd will have a tough time to decide whom not to support!

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 03:14 AM

A lot Mina, a lot - I don't know that I can risk sobriety until the whole shebang (or Rafa's role in it) is over...And, I hope that frazzle's being directed to the right side:)

LMAO rg! But, I don't think it's a tough call for the crowd - they only seem to hate Sod when he's playing Fed.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:14 AM

Rafa's Website,Paris,June 2nd,2010.

Rafa will be hopign for an early birthday present on Wednesday when he takes on fellow Spainard Nicolas Almagro.Rafa who turns 24 tomorrow has a 6-0 lead.

"Its going to be very difficult becausethe wya he plays is really excellent" Rafa said

"He's managed to maintain the same level in the tournament.Its going to be complicated,he's going to be very aggressive.He knows how to do this.

"I'll try to play my way and do my best."I'll do my best so that he feels a bit uncomfortable".

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:16 AM

RG Lets just take one game at a time

Pity me I have Sam playing first then Rafa

What have I done to deserve this? lol!

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 03:20 AM

GB: haha. So we can assume that the crowd would be neutral in the Sod- Berdy match?

AM: Sam cannot afford to make the start she made against Justine when she plays today. She needs to make the first strike.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:23 AM

RG Sam knows this she has played Serena before.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 03:25 AM

Sam-Serena could be a wonderful match.

Posted by Kenneth 06/02/2010 at 03:25 AM

H2h's have been misleading this RG to say the least. It won't take much for Almagro to gain belief, especially if the 'conditions' resemble yesterday's.

And I think Melzer will be a real test for Djokovic. Hopefully, by some strange miracle, we'll get to see both quarterfinals and NOT endless replays of two of them???

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/02/2010 at 03:34 AM

I think I'm going to bury the frazzle in work. :) See you all later!

Posted by Kenneth 06/02/2010 at 03:36 AM

I definitely see Stosur playing a fine match against Serena. I also see Serena taking it to Stosur should Stosur fail to hit those fhs that were falling like bombs against Henin. Actually, both ladies fhs should decide the match.

I'm lost; is it ladies semis day or still quarters for everyone?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:39 AM

Keneth The top half of the ladies are playing q.finals

Yes Go Sam!!!!

Posted by JohnC (Sod all the way) 06/02/2010 at 03:40 AM

Still quarters for everyone, Kenneth

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:42 AM

Well I know the game plan Rafa will impact on Almagro for starters

Lets see if Belief which by the way hasnt showed up will be enough.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 03:46 AM

I like the fact that Nico has shown a bit of fight by letting Rafa know he is ready for a fight. At the end of the day whoever wins I hope they shake hands and there are no hard feelings.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:48 AM

Rafa is a sportsman he has Never shown ill towards anyone that has defeated him Period

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/02/2010 at 03:52 AM

AM I was prolly more talking about Nico as I thing he takes losses a bit personal and hard and I have a feeling he really wants this win.

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 03:55 AM

Wow - it's actually possible to frazzle more. I'm frazzling more.

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 03:57 AM

I can't imagine a scenario where there wouldn't be a handshake.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 03:58 AM

AA Talk Is Cheap to me

Let him do it on the court.Let his raquet to the talking

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 04:02 AM

I know some people here were so happy that Federer was beaten.Oh My? of course some love to see a Champion fall by the way side.It kind of makes their day.Any true tennis fan will underdtand thay any player on any given day can be beaten.

Roger will of course take this in his stride and look forward to the Grass season.He was never played a bad match.

Same with Rafa a champion and it would give many people great pleasure to see him fail here.

Sad really when you think of it.He is a great clay court player probably the Greatest yet its the Tall Poppy Sydnrome which strikes again.

Posted by Jessica 06/02/2010 at 04:10 AM

http://i47.tinypic.com/29ertvs.jpg

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 06/02/2010 at 04:15 AM

Well I need to eat to keep my energy levels up for later

I am in for a hard night at the office

Go Sam and Rafa

Later.

Posted by Samantha Elin ( Bring it on Rafa!) 06/02/2010 at 05:45 AM

Good morning all. I just want to say what a great place this is to talk about tennis and to express are diverse opinions. Because posters have different favorites and see things from different perpectives, you're alway going to have posters who disagree and there is nothing wrong with that. Imagine how boring it would be if we all agreed. But I think it's important to agree to disagree in a civil manner free from personal insults.I'm young, but even I know you don't win a disagreement by personal attack, unless your a schoolyard bully, but by presenting your argument in a reasonable manner with support for your position. Ok, back to the tennis. The FO is the slam that produces the most surprises, but I'm tired of the upsets. I want a Demmy and Serena final on the women's side and a Rafa, Robin final on the men's side. I read where the Rafa fans are hoping for a Rafa/Robin final. BE CAREFUL what you wish for because Robin is clearly playing the best tennis of his life. He has the weapons to take down anyone. Yesterday Roger couldn't make it to five sets with this mighty Swede who has proven to be one of the most underestimated, but dangerous player to take the court. I say, bring it on Rafa. Kom igen Robin, I believe in you.

Posted by Samantha Elin ( Bring it on Rafa!) 06/02/2010 at 05:52 AM

What my two favorites Justine and Caro need to do: Please get a serving coach. The time when you can win a slam by just putting your serve in ended with Hingis and Evert. And for Caro, the over scheduling needs to stop. I'll be in classes so I'll miss the live action and score watching is boring. I envy the people who can see it live.

Posted by Mike 06/02/2010 at 05:55 AM

I think it's simply age catching up just enough to make Fed's game more volatile. TMF had the pop, accuracy, and aggressiveness to deal with the big hitters. Losing just a half step in the right conditions can make a big difference. Once he tried trading blasts with Sod (ala Delpo), he was fighting an uphill battle ... IMHO.

As far as who will win now, probably Rafa ... but even he is not the Rafa of RG 08, IMHO. Dropping serve too much, and looks of confusion + aggravation I've not seen this early on at RG (with the exception of the RafaRobin match last year). Fed seems to have lost overdrive, we'll see if Rafa has a chink in his armor or not between now and Sunday. Should be interesting once he runs into someone that isn't going to try to beat him at his game.

Posted by Samantha Elin ( Bring it on Rafa!) 06/02/2010 at 06:00 AM

I alway forget to say something. The three great tennis nation with size taken into account as it should be. 1. Sweden(Borg, Enberg, Mats, Soderling) 2.Switzerland(Roger can represent a whole country. 3. U.S.(Sampras, Agassi, J-mac)

Posted by Texastennis 06/02/2010 at 06:24 AM

Another cold day in Paris ...

Posted by Ruth 06/02/2010 at 06:24 AM

Samantha: When Caro said, almost defensively in her post-match interview, that she wasn't playing a lot of tourneys, I went to the WTA site to check to see what the heck she was talking about. And the fact is that she has played in more events (in the past 52 weeks) than any other top 10 player; and Schiavone , interestingly, Schiavone is the only player in the top 20 whao has played more than Caro.

Only among the much lower ranked players do we find players with as busy a schedule as Caro's; and, no offense to those players intended, but they usually know going in that they will not be going as deep into tourneys as Caro has been going. So, it's time for Caro, her father, and the rest of the team to be more sensible about her schedule lest she find herself down among those other lower ranked 25-30-event players sooner than she might have expected.

Posted by Kwaku 06/02/2010 at 06:39 AM

What's the weather forecast for today in Paris?

Posted by Kwaku 06/02/2010 at 06:40 AM

(not really asking about cold or hot, but rain or not... egoist me)

Posted by Thomas 06/02/2010 at 06:48 AM

First of all, after reading this posts, and despite me liking Sod, I almost hope he loses because of Samanta Elin. Second of all, I dont even think she's Swedish...

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 06/02/2010 at 07:10 AM

Ruth: doesn't Caro's wta imposed limited scheduling take effect as of January due to her reaching top ten status (maybe MA can explain this better). I believe as of Jan of this year she cannot schedule to the degree she has previously.

Posted by Kwaku 06/02/2010 at 07:13 AM

SamE: I do not fully agree.
It was a pleasure to see Borg and Edberg (not Enberg) play. Mats was one of the greats in the history of the sport too.
But of course Sod belongs to an entirely different league. "Until proved otherwise" is the usual addendum, but in this case the distance is so anstronomical that I don't even think it's needed.
But I do agree Sweeden is historically no.1 if size is taken into account.
Between Switzerland and the US, I'd pick the second because Federe is kind of an abnormality. Yes, their sizes are so different, but look at the respective Davis Cup resumes...

Posted by tkn 06/02/2010 at 07:16 AM

Wonder if Soderling and his coach were "yoking" with each other yesterday?? I guess kudos to Soderling for being "the one" to dethrone the amazing Federer. It had to happen someday. Just sad that day came. Love Fed no matter what and look forward to his greatness in England!!! LETS GO RAFA!!!!!

Posted by Samantha Elin(Bring it on Rafa. 06/02/2010 at 07:17 AM

Thomas LOL. Thanks. you made my day with that post. I can't stop laughing. Again, many thanks. Now more serious, Ruth, I totally agree. JJ did the same thing and I think it led to a decline in her game. I think the Williamses have done a great job at only playing in selective tourney, they call it cherry picking, but to me, it's just smart tennis. Ruth, maybe for Caro, it will be a hard lesson to learn with the numerous injuries she had. I heard Rafa's coach say the same thing, that they made a mistake in allowing him to play so many tourney so close to the French and this year he corrected that mistake so there is hope for Caro. I think it comes down to the coach and player deciding what is best.

Posted by hitius 06/02/2010 at 07:21 AM

Federer Age 24: 5 Slams
Nadal Age 24: 6(7 - 2010 RG) Slams

Posted by Thomas 06/02/2010 at 07:42 AM

Prove it!

Posted by Ruth 06/02/2010 at 07:43 AM

Yes, M&MD, and Caro mentioned that in the interview. She won't be able to play in as amny of the smaller events as she did before. I checked the Race rankings which, as you know start with January 2010; and with 11 tourneys played, she's right up there with the highest number that any top 10 player has played in 2010. But maybe, she'll be able keep to a more reasonable schedule in 2010.

Posted by Samantha Elin(Bring it on Rafa). 06/02/2010 at 07:46 AM

Ok Thomas, you got me! I'm really Serbian and JJ is my favorite. Go Glitter queen!

Posted by Samantha Elin(Bring it on Rafa). 06/02/2010 at 07:49 AM

Thomas,all joking aside, you're free to believe what you like and to cheer against Robin as much as you like. Again, thanks for the laugh and I hope you have a great day and good luck to your favorites. Go tennis!

Posted by Nam1 06/02/2010 at 07:56 AM

GB and Aussiemarg:

Pass the drugs , please....my mantra is not working "one match at a time"

Lets not forget Rafa has 2 more matches before we can start thinking about a Sodal final.

Posted by p99 06/02/2010 at 08:02 AM

Lets see if sod can win fed again.

Posted by tina ("tako je sport") 06/02/2010 at 08:05 AM

I foresaw Federer having trouble with the pace and depth Soderling has been getting lately, but still.... I saw the final set at 1:00 am, and the biggest surprise to me was the booing every time Robin questioned a close call, whether or not the call went his way in the end. I know well that people have strong emotions about Fed and maybe the folks who go to RG felt cheated last year after Sod took out Rafa - but it struck me as really rude.

Now, am I the only person who would like to see a Soderling-Djokovic final?

Posted by leigh 06/02/2010 at 08:14 AM

Jessica - posted 4:10.

Thanks for the link. I've sent it to a few friends already this a.m.

Posted by Nam1 06/02/2010 at 08:17 AM

is this where the match calls will be today?

Posted by rg.nadal 06/02/2010 at 08:19 AM

Poor start by JJ!

Posted by GB 06/02/2010 at 08:20 AM

"maybe the folks who go to RG felt cheated last year after Sod took out Rafa "

Um, not so much. Folks were ecstatic when Sod took out Rafa. He couldn't have had more support during that match.

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